Incidents of clergy sexual abuse in the Catholic Church have declined sharply since their peak in the 1970s and 1980s, according to two national studies.
A class-action lawsuit has been filed against the eight Catholic Dioceses in Pennsylvania demanding that they release information about allegations of clergy sexual abuse. The Diocese of Allentown already has reported to law enforcement every allegation of clergy sexual abuse of which it is aware, and the Diocese published a list of all Diocesan Priests against whom there have been credible allegations of abuse of minors. Click on headline above for link to list.
The Diocese of Allentown will set national precedent in fall 2019 by establishing a Catholic high school for students battling addiction and participating in recovery from substance and alcohol abuse.
Bishop of Allentown Alfred Schlert has appointed John Petruzzelli as principal of Kolbe Academy effective Oct. 1. Petruzzelli returns to the Lehigh Valley from St. Joseph Preparatory Academy in Philadelphia, where he served as principal since 2017. Prior to that leadership role, he spent seven years as principal of Bethlehem Catholic High School.
“Before you fly, you have to learn how to fall. You have to have faith and spirit in order to get back up,” said Father Rob Hagan, chaplain for Villanova University’s men’s basketball team that clinched the 2018 NCAA National Championship.
“St. Therese’s shower of roses has been a particular part of the local landscape in New Columbus, having hosted the annual Shower of Roses Festival for decades. In light of this we felt it fitting for this commission to depict the shower of roses in a very unique way.”
The Diocese of Allentown issued the following statement on Sept. 12, in response to a lawsuit filed in Lehigh County Court:
Bishop Schlert has always viewed victims as sincere, dignified, and extremely courageous for coming forward. He has always treated them with respect, and always will. For those who suggest otherwise, nothing could be further from the truth. With regard to the allegations in this lawsuit, the Diocese did not disclose the information publicly. We provided it to the Grand Jury as a result of a subpoena. In fact, it was the Grand Jury Report that made this information public. The Diocese did not solicit this information. The Diocese never investigated the victim or attempted to discredit her. The Diocese never acted on the unsolicited information. In fact, after the Diocese met with the victim in 2002, the Diocese removed the priest from ministry. Law enforcement already was aware of the allegation. As a Diocese, we treat victims with compassion, respect and dignity. We would never direct anyone to do otherwise.
The release of the Grand Jury Report and the recent allegations have been painful. Much has been said and written already. I suspect that many of you, like me, are emotionally exhausted. Shock, anger, frustration, profound sadness and tears. It’s been rough.
Faithful from across the five-county Diocese of Allentown are welcme to share faith, fellowship and fun at this year’s “Diocesan Family Festival,” Sunday, Sept. 30 in the Christmas City. Additionally, the event, which takes place at SteelStacks, 101 Founders Way, Bethlehem, will shine a spotlight on Catholic education.
The Diocese of Allentown is open to discussions about the creation of a fund to assist victims and survivors of clergy sexual abuse as one aspect of their healing.